My Coffeeshop Tradition (How To Scout Out a New City)

When I went to The Local Grind — a little coffee shop near my local town — for the first time, I had no idea that it would be starting a tradition.

Now, every city that I spend a significant time in, I take someone with me to a coffee shop and take a picture of them there. I use the coffeeshop’s Snapchat filter (or if they don’t have one, I put it in manually) to put in the address and name of the place and give it its number. As of right now, I have 12 coffee shops that I’ve gone to and done this.

I call it my coffee shop tradition.

It’s like scouting: some of the coffeeshops I would never go back to. But I also find some pretty awesome places that I can recommend to people who travel to that city. I’ve never failed to have a good time, even if the coffee shop itself isn’t the best, because of my tradition of taking someone with me.

I went to The Local Grind about five times before they closed late last year. It was a wonderful place to hang out with fellow locals or visitors. Greenery grew up the side of the wall and spread over the roof in the area where you sat, making it feel like you’d entered into a greenhouse. Tea, coffee and all the usual coffee shop sundries at a reasonable price were available. 

When you move to a new city, try this. Try and find a local coffee shop that doesn’t exist anywhere else. You will get a taste for the locals’ tastes and habits, and find a neat place to spend an hour or two (or an afternoon, if you’re me). 

To get you started, here are a handful of the ones that I have traveled to here in South Carolina. If ever you’re in any of these parts of the state, I highly recommend them. I’ve included links to their website or Facebook page when applicable. 

Cuppa Manna
Summerville, SC

Besides being adorable, Cuppa Manna is a fair sized coffee shop, meaning you’re bound to find a place to sit. The room is full of various objects and magazines on shelves, by the window seats, and by the tables, so you have plenty to look at as you sip on your coffee, tea or eat a sandwich. They offer live music, making it a pleasant and interesting atmosphere.

All In Coffee Shop
Clemson, SC

I came here with my friends late at night, and let me tell you, it’s big. This is one of the few coffee shops that I’ve been to that have multiple rooms (each with unique furniture and plants!). Despite being a hub for Clemson college students, there was no lack of a place to sit, and my friends and I were able to find a room that was quiet and comfortable. Come in and stay awhile as you sip on a smoothie, espresso, or tea, and munch on any of the delicious desserts available.

Little River Coffee Bar
Spartanburg, SC

The main thing that has stuck with me about this place is how delicious and amazingly good-looking all of the drinks and food are. I got a chai tea with coconut milk, which they frothed up and put a pretty little design on top. My companion got a coffee cake muffin with white icing, that was served quite nicely in its foil wrapper on a white plate. When you’re done eating and drinking, walk on over next door to Hub City Bookstore, full of new and interesting books, as well as a registry where you can sign your name.

Cool Beans Coffee Company
Columbia, SC

Cool Beans is my favorite coffee shop that I’ve been to yet, which is nice since it’s in my hometown. They offer a wide variety of drink options and foods. I love the fact that they carry Alternative Baking Company cookies, which are vegan, and also offer vegan hot cocoa. For someone with food allergies, this place is a win! Also, Cool Beans boasts a few small rooms, both upstairs and a couple downstairs, each with different colored walls, furniture, and several plants. It’s a funky, local atmosphere that people from all over the country have visited. They have a map that you can add a sticker from where you’re from, and a map to add where you’d like to move to. 

Methodical Coffee
Greenville, SC

This place has a mezzanine. It doesn’t really get better than that. Sit up top while you look down on the rest of the coffee shop, and get a view of Greenville from the big, glass windows at the entrance. The whole place is full of marble, sophisticated black and white tiles, and wooden and brass accessories. It feels simple yet chic, and the quiet atmosphere is undeniably pleasant. I’ve gone here two or three times, and can safely say their teas are exceptionally good.

The Haven Coffee House
Lexington SC

Breakfast, lunch, desserts along with coffee, espresso, smoothies and tea, The Haven Coffee House has no shortage of interesting foods to choose from. Plus, they partner with Lighthouse for Life, a company that’s taking steps to end human trafficking. You know when you come here, you’re supporting a good cause. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the paintings on the walls — some done by locals — are lively and interesting. The Haven definitely feels like a haven. Come here to relax, unwind and take a break from everyday life.

Have you gone to many coffee shops near where you live? Which ones did you like best? Please tell me about them in the comments; I’m always wanting looking for new places to explore. 


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